Thursday, April 26, 2012

Silly Waffle Talk

Last weekend Mustache Man had an opportunity to spend some time with some youth from Hosea. He was so excited that he invited them over for breakfast. Ordinarily I would have been stoked, I mean it's the combination of two of my favorite things, community and food. 

However, Saturdays mornings now begin with a checklist that starts when my alarm sounds at 6:30AM!  I have recently begun an 8 AM training/study/accountability/everything else group in order to volunteer with Hope Ranch Ministries (please check it out Also, I must confess, I love to start with an early morning run. So, needless to say, I was bit stressed about how I was going to fit a breakfast/quality time into this routine. 

To top it all off, Mustache Man didn't arrive home (he had taken the same youth to a conference) until 11 PM. I asked what we would be cooking and he said our guests really like waffles. Awesome. I like waffles too. Except, we don't have a waffle iron! It was at this point that I decided it was probably best for me just to go to bed. And, despite his disgust for Wal-Mart, Mustache Man, made a trip to purchase a waffle iron. 

I didn't do my early morning run. I was bummed. But there was no time for that. When our friends arrived we all sat down to have a nice breakfast and enjoy each other's company. Our young friends shared some stories about living under different bridges with their families and how just 5 months ago they were able to find steady housing. I was so encouraged and challenged by their stories of resilience. 

We had two, cold waffles left. But my sweet friends had already endured so much. At the very least, they deserved fresh, hot, waffles. I offered to cook more. I was immediately confronted with my Western world mindset, as I was questioned about what would happened to the "cold waffles." To which I responded with a lie..."they will be my mid-morning snack," knowing that they would not be touched again until mold started to appear. 

My heart sank. Was I really that wasteful? Am I really one of those people I judge the most? After our "Mending the Soul" group I came back into our apartment to see those dang waffles still sitting there, daring me to eat them. I promise I tried to eat them, but they were gross and cold, so I just threw them away. I then took an inventory of the food in the fridge and the cabinets and just noted how blessed I am. It's funny how weekly I buy "needed" groceries, even though I have still have so much food. Why do I require so much just to throw it away? I can't stop thinking about not our brothers and sisters on the street and faces from those in Africa and Mexico. I'm sure they would have eaten the stupid waffles. 


Tuesday, April 24, 2012


So like I said in a previous post, we have encountered a lot of change over the previous year. It has definitely been one wild ride. As most of you know, we moved here with the intentions of planting a church. I for one, had some big expectations of what that would look like. Thankfully,  it hasn’t exactly happened how I pictured.
It  took me a good 6 months to even realize that I was actually living in Oregon. I think there was still a part of me stuck in cyberland and lived vicariously through facebook, twitter, or whatever social media vehicle I could find to connect with my past life. I always thought it was strange that I only cried once (that was literally when I was pulling out of the Alabama driveway for the last time), but it makes sense now that I look back. While my body was here, my heart was stuck in the south.
It was not long after the reality set in that I realized things were moving slower than I wanted. I couldn’t decide if Iwere upset or relieved with the snail pace it seemed like we were taking. After about that first 6 or 7 months Q got a new job at the Eugene Mission as their chaplain. It was after this that I felt that everything  took off.
Q had a couple of job opportunities. One being a job at Hosea Youth Services. Instead of accepting the position, he recommended Mustache Man for the job. I’m gonna leave the details of that experience to Mustance Man. But without spoiling too much, it was so wonderful how everything worked out. I actually got to go to the interview with him because  that executive staff believe that the family is such an integral part of the ministry.
So here we are, Alec, a youth pastor to the homeless youth (which was way overwhelming for us) and Q, the pastor of the homeless adults in Eugene. It was there God revealed to the team that our job was to reach out to those living on street, those who don’t feel comfortable in traditional church, to those who need to be loved in a big way. And we just wanted to serve them. That’s how the vision of The Beautiful Mess began.
Although we often attend University Fellowship Church (UFC) on Sunday mornings, The Beautiful Mess meets on Sundays at the Hosea drop-in center. Our goal? To serve and love. We are currently referring to ourselves as a “missional outpost.” Don’t worry, in future posts you will find out what this looks like (and I promise there will be pictures and videos). So please, stay tuned…

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Beginning of Us

It rains here, a lot. Sunny days in Eugene are few and far between. However, recently Oregon has seen some pretty amazing days. Today was one of those days. Mustache-Man and I always take advantage of days like today. It was in the mid-70s and not a cloud in the sky. We went for a bike ride on the incredible bike path (we are spoiled by the bike paths here) and then laid in the grass with Pandora tuned into the Josh Garrels station (if you don't know him, definitely check out his music). Today was perfect, one like you would read about in a Donald Miller book.

It was about this time last year that Mustache-Man took me on a picnic. It was probably one of the first days of sunshine that we had seen since February and we just had to get outside. After all, it could be a month before we see the sun again. 

Mustache Man had planned a nice picnic. Just before our departure I got an invitation to play Ultimate Frisbee. I was ecstatic about the picnic but man, I really wanted to play Ultimate. I just knew Mustache Man would be in. Not quite. You see, he had some big plans for this day. Sunshine is rare. We have all learned that if you have something big you want to accomplish while the sun is out, you better act fast. 

I can't lie, I was bummed. But more than disappointed, I was concerned that something was wrong with Mustache Man. Why would he choose a picnic over ultimate? The thought then rolled through my mind, "Is Alec thinking of proposing?" At this point in the story most people would get goose-bumps on their butterflies. However, I quickly dismissed the thought and choose to distract myself by coordinating my upcoming week's run routine. 

We finally arrived at our destination, Mustache Man set everything up. Bikers rode by and waved while we soaked up as much vitamin D was we possibly could. The afternoon was wonderful and uneventful. Perfect. I reminded Mustache Man that we had to soon go to church and we needed to begin to pack up. But as I began to load my belongings in the car, Mustache Man requested that I join him back on the blanket, "to spend some time reading 1 Cor. 13 with him." And we all know what that's about. L-O-V-E. 

I'd love to say that this was the most beautiful moment I have ever encountered and that be the end. Instead, I wanted to vomit. Anxiety and fear set in immediately. I tried to stop him while he was reading. He continued. I made statements such as "Alec, I hate this chapter, i'm bad at love, i'm an awful girlfriend!" All in a desperate attempt to stop him before he said something he couldn't take back. Thoughts were racing in my mind and he read on. I tried everything, at one point I even tried to close the Bible while he was reading. But he knew me well enough to know that this is how I would react. That's why I love him.

Again, I'd love to say this situation got better from here. Unfortunately, I continued to be dominated by fear. I was weighing the options in my head as quickly as I could, "if I say no then he will probably not want to see me again, but am I really ready to say yes?" And then, before I could come up with any other manipulative tactics to stop this,  it came..."Holleigh, will you marry me?" 

I couldn't decide. This was a life changing decision that was just sprung on me? I never thought of the intensity of this question. I always assumed that your asked, it's wonderful, you kiss and onto the festivities. No, this is crazy?! Do we, as a culture, really just surprise someone with a question that could change their whole identity, forever? And then expect an immediate answer? I intentionally shifted to a playful tone. "Well of course I want to marry you," but then tacked on those two, little, dreadful words that no proposer wants to hear, "one day."

His head dropped and I immediately began to cry. We cried, yelled, and a few choice words were spoken. We then drove 30 minutes to church in silence. Mustache Man walked straight to the bathroom, where he was greeted by Q  (pastor/leader/friend that also moved from Alabama). Later I was informed that Q attempted to make small talk with Mustache Man and at one point, jokingly asked him if he had proposed. Of course he lied. 

Throughout the entire service I processed the thought of marrying Mustache Man. I have never met a person that fits me better than this guy, it's like he balances me out. Not that we have it all together, but that's just it, we don't have it all together and it works out beautifully. I don't think I ever stopped being scared about getting married. But, I do know that just like every other life changing event, I had to step out in faith and understand that God's plan is ever-changing, not easy, and not always clear. But it's always good.

I'll take that. I didn't know what it would be like to be wife and that was scary. But it's okay. So after about 4 hours I looked at my sweet groom and said "I want to be your wife, if the offer is still open." The rest is history.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Take Two

I must begin with a confession. Blogging is intimidating. I have stalked blog after blog, only to stunt my own creativity and make my head spin. I created this blog about a month ago (maybe even a little over a month ago) and quickly became so overwhelmed that I quit. So here I am again, ready for "take 2" and armed to embrace this virtual world. My weapon of defense? Simplicity. This may not be the most aesthetically appealing blog and there may be no scheduled posts, in no particular order. But it will most certainly still achieve our main objective, which is to document our story. 

There is so much to say about where Mustache Man (Alec) and I are today. Long story short, Mustache Man and I both moved to Eugene, Oregon just over a year ago. This was our attempt to learn what it means to be a disciple. I can't emphasize the following statement enough. It is by the grace of God that I survived this far. Thank God I did not know how hard it would be, I wouldn't have come. Anyways, since our initial move, we have encountered a lot of changes. Of course we moved across the country, changed jobs, got engaged, got married, grew a gnarly handle-bar mustache (obviously not me), changed jobs again, and have somehow managed to remain sane in the process. That was your "in less than 60 seconds 2011 recap." However, in an effort to be honest and provide the public with a look at how we operate, it is most appropriate that we begin with our engagement story. But not until tomorrow, I am drained. Grammar drives me mad.

-Freckles (Holleigh)